News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 7, 2017: Governments, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean, had better put in place systems to deal with more criminal deportees from the U.S. quickly.
The Trump administration this past week announced plans to remove those “bad hombres” or criminal immigrants from U.S. jails much faster.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement late last week announced what he called the “Expansion and Modernization Program” to deport criminal immigrants currently in US federal jails much quicker.
According to Sessions, the plan is an expansion and modernization of the Department’s Institutional Hearing Program, (IHP), which will identify criminal immigrants in federal jails who are eligible for deportation.
Under the expanded program, deportable criminal immigrants in jail who are nearing the end of their sentence will have an immigration removal hearing with a judge via video teleconference while still in a federal prison.
Depending on the judge’s ruling, they could then be deported out of the country upon release from jail, instead of being transferred to a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility or into the public for adjudication of status. Currently, many immigrants who complete prison sentences can spend months held in detention facilities as deportation hearings progress.
The program is being coordinated by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and ICE and the DOJ expects 14 Bureau of Prison facilities and six contractor-run prisons to participate in the Program
“Bringing an immigration judge to the inmate for a determination of removability, rather than vice versa, saves time and resources and speeds hearings,” the DOJ said in a statement, while adding that the new “improvements will speed the process of deporting incarcerated criminal aliens and will reduce costs to taxpayers.”
The DOJ’s own report shows that only a little over 20 percent of federal inmates are non-citizens. Most are from Latin America with only two percent from the Caribbean.
But Sessions for his part, reiterating the Trump campaign theme of ridding the country of “bad hombres” and immigrants convicted of crimes said: “We owe it to the American people to ensure that illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in our federal prisons are expeditiously removed from our country as the law requires. This expansion and modernization of the Institutional Hearing Program gives us the tools to continue making Americans safe again in their communities.”
While an exact timeline for the implementation of the revised program has not been given by the DOJ, Donald Trump’s budget proposal does call for the Justice Department to hire 75 more immigration judge teams to speed removal proceedings, along with 60 more border enforcement prosecutors.
Latino advocates, however, continue to lobby actively against the trumped up immigration plans by the new administration. Last week, the National Council of La Raza hosted its Community Leaders Action Summit, calling for an end to the assault on millions of American families and a refusal to fund Trump’s mass deportation tactics and border wall.
NCLR members along with activists and community leaders also visited 100 members of Congress to urge them to stand up for and defend policies that benefit millions of American families including humane immigration policies and civil rights.